01 Oct 2022

Former iconic Donegal hotel site to house luxury holiday home complex on the shores of Lough Swilly

Additional environmental information sought for development on Buncrana's Swilly Hotel site in Inishowen

Buncrana, County Donegal

Luxury holiday home park planned for Buncrana

Plans are afoot to develop the site formerly occupied by Buncrana's iconic Swilly Hotel.

An outline planning application for the construction of a leisure park at the Swilly Road site in the town, was submitted to Donegal County Council on October 10 past by Buncrana brothers, Aidan and Henry Donaghey.

The leisure park will consist of “26 luxury static holiday homes”, which will be connected to the existing mains sewer and public services. A decision on the application is scheduled for December 4, 2019.

Commenting on the application, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said there were “heritage-related observations / recommendations” to be considered under Nature Conservation.

The Department added the “observations” were intended to assist Donegal County Council to meet its obligations in terms of “ European sites, other nature conservation sites, and biodiversity and environmental protection in general.”

It said: “When considering this application, Donegal County Council should be cognisant of its general duties as a ‘public authority’ under Regulation 27 of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations, 2011.

“All public authorities are obliged to exercise their functions, including consent functions, in compliance with, or so as to secure compliance with, the requirements of the Habitats and Birds Directives and the 2011 Regulations. Public authorities are obliged, when exercising their functions, to take appropriate steps to avoid, in European sites, the deterioration of natural habitats and the habitats of species, as well as disturbance of species for which a site has been designated insofar as this disturbance could be significant in relation to the objectives of the Habitats Directive.

“The Department considers the application to be deficient in content. Insufficient information has been submitted with the application to allow for an assessment of its impact on nature conservation interests.

“For clarity the site in question is located adjacent to: Lough Swilly Special Protection Area (SPA) (site code 004075); and Lough Swilly Special Area of Conservation (SAC) (site code 002287). The Department considers that an application of this nature located adjacent to sites designated under the EC Birds and Natural Habitats Regulations 2011 must be accompanied by documentation in relation to appropriate assessment,” the Department of Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said.

The Department also said Donegal County Council was the competent authority in relation to appropriate assessment for this application.

It added: “The application should be subject to screening for appropriate assessment in the first instance, likely to be followed by the preparation of a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) and appropriate assessment.

“From the limited information supplied it can, in the Department’s view, be concluded that the application in question is likely to have a significant effect on the Natura 2000 sites identified above, and so requires full appropriate assessment.

“The Department is available for consultation during the preparation and post preparation of the NIS. You are requested to send further communications to this Department’s Development Applications Unit (DAU) via eReferral, where used, or to the following address: The Manager Development Applications Unit (DAU) Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Newtown Road Wexford Y35 AP90.”

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